Third base and right field are the deepest positions on the fantasy diamond. It’s hard to explain why that is the case. Unfortunately, when you get to the point where you have this much depth, you get some considerable anger when someone’s guy is ranked lower than they think he should be.
The three year rankings do that for guys that haven’t played three seasons. So, we look at the projection data as a counterbalance. We are looking at the Steamer projections for the six main offensive categories. Again, we take these with a grain of salt.
Jose Ramirez– Cleveland Indians
Projection: .284, 27 HR, 93 Runs, 97 RBI, 23 SB, 77 BB
Ramirez has done it two seasons in a row and he was better last year than the season before. Yes, the Indians have less than they did before, but Ramirez is also eligible at second base. I’m not sure if he’s a first round pick given all that has happened, but you could do a lot worse.
Kris Bryant– Chicago Cubs
Projection: .275, 28 HR, 93 Runs, 86 RBI, 6 SB, 79 BB
Bryant has tumbled into the 30s in ADP. He was the former NL MVP and has multiple position flexibility. 2018 was a down season to be sure, but this guy is an elite player. He could end up being a bargain if he lasts until the third or fourth round in most standard 12 player leagues.
Nolan Arenado– Colorado Rockies
Projection: .286, 36 HR, 96 Runs, 106 RBI, 3 SB, 62 BB
I try to stay true to ideology. The key difference between Arenado and Bryant is patience and a little extra speed on the part of Bryant. The multi-positional flexibility is also a factor. Arenado just spits out runs and RBI by the bushel, so you can flip flop them if you wish.
Alex Bregman– Houston Astros
Projection: .279, 25 HR, 95 Runs, 89 RBI, 10 SB, 73 BB
Both Bregman and Bryant were number two overall picks. It would be interesting to flip flop them. After all, the Astros could have taken Bryant instead of Mark Appel. They may have won out here. Bregman is also eligible at short in most formats.
Eugenio Suarez– Cincinnati Reds
Projection: .257, 28 HR, 80 Runs, 90 RBI, 4 SB, 70 BB
The Reds are one of the deepest offenses in the National League. That includes teams like the Dodgers and Cubs. Suarez has quietly improved in each of the past three seasons. I’m not sure if he has another step in him, but even if he doesn’t he’s turned into a very underrated player.
Anthony Rendon– Washington Nationals
Projection: .287, 21 HR, 80 Runs, 80 RBI, 4 SB, 65 BB
Rendon will likely be the next 100+ million dollar guy coming out of Washington. This shows how deep third base is. Some will drop him once Harper signs elsewhere, but there are still plenty of hitters to drive in in Washington.
Matt Chapman– Oakland Athletics
Projection: .249, 28 HR, 84 Runs, 85 RBI, 4 SB, 60 BB
I wish they included fielding runs as a category. Chapman is definitely a top five overall third baseman in terms of absolute value, but as a hitter he doesn’t have the batting average to compete with the guys above him. He will draw walks though, so he’s a good bet in six category leagues.
Matt Carpenter– St. Louis Cardinals
Projection: .251, 25 HR, 96 Runs, 69 RBI, 4 SB, 98 BB
Carpenter is also eligible at first base. Usually that would be worse, but third base is deeper than first these days. There was a brief time in August when Carpenter looked like the NL MVP last season. Now, he’s ranked eighth. That’s how deep this spot is.
Travis Shaw– Milwaukee Brewers
Projection: .249, 27 HR, 72 Runs, 83 RBI, 5 SB, 64 BB
Shaw could be eligible at second base in some leagues and if the Brewers bring Mike Moustakas back he could move there permanently. Shaw is definitely a step below the top eight guys. This is similar to the index when we look at the gap between players.
Josh Donaldson– Atlanta Braves
Projection: .257, 25 HR, 75 Runs, 75 RBI, 3 SB, 74 BB
Every fantasy champion must roll the dice every once in awhile. Donaldson is a top five talent even at a deep third base position. The key will be health. Most projection systems are looking at 500 or so plate appearances. If he goes north of 600 he could be a stud.
Mike Moustakas– Free Agent
Projection: .257, 28 HR, 70 Runs, 83 RBI, 3 SB, 43 BB
Poor Mike Moustakas. He has to wait for the Manny Machado sweepstakes to sort itself out before the losers turn to Moustakas. A return to Milwaukee actually makes sense and in that lineup he could put up really good numbers. Stay tuned.
Justin Turner– Los Angeles Dodgers
Projection: .286, 18 HR, 71 Runs, 68 RBI, 3 SB, 52 BB
Turner missed almost half of last season. Projecting playing time is a dicey issue across the board. Does one season with a significant injury affect future durability. Maybe. I tend to think he will be back to 600 PA, so he will outproduce this in all likelihood.
Miguel Sano– Minnesota Twins
Projection: .237, 28 HR, 72 Runs, 80 RBI, 1 SB, 64 BB
Sano may be a scumbag. What does this have to do with the numbers? Well, he spent a good portion of last season with an abuse allegation hanging over his head. It was a huge step back on the diamond. Maybe being “cleared” lifts the cloud. He’s a borderline regular. I’m not sure that’s enough to overlook the fact that he might be a scumbag.
Rafael Devers– Boston Red Sox
Projection: .271, 21 HR, 63 Runs, 71 RBI, 5 SB, 38 BB
Devers is a good counterpoint to Sano. Devers plays in the best lineup in the American League and he is getting better. Whether he takes two steps forward or just one remains to be seen. The key for him will be whether he can take a few walks here and there.
Miguel Andujar– New York Yankees
Projection: .279, 23 HR, 69 Runs, 78 RBI, 3 SB, 28 BB
Andujar was worth -25 DRS last year as a third baseman. That might explain why the Yankees seemed eager to replace him this offseason. Fielding matters because it effects how often he gets on the field. With D.J. LeMahieu in tow, he might find itsef on the bench more often this season.
Kyle Seager– Seattle Mariners
Projection: .241, 22 HR, 66 Runs, 74 RBI, 3 SB, 48 BB
Seager used to be banked for 25 home runs and 90 RBI a season. The Mariners are going into tank mode and he took a steo back last season. Whether he returns to form or not, he isn’t likely to drive in all of those runs.
Jake Lamb– Arizona Diamondbacks
Projection: .245, 17 HR, 55 Runs, 58 RBI, 4 SB, 57 BB
Last season was a lost season for Lamb, but a move to first base might help him stay on the field long enough to produce some decent numbers again. At any other position he would be a definite top 15 guy, but third base is as deep as ever.
Eduardo Escobar– Arizona Diamondbacks
Projection: .252, 15 HR, 55 Runs, 59 RBI, 4 SB, 39 BB
Formats matter. Escobar is a doubles machine. Doubles don’t count any extra in standard leagues, but in total points leagues it makes him an intriguing play. The Dbacks are tanking, so it will be hard for him to put up secondary numbers.
Matt Duffy– Tampa Bay Rays
Projection: .271, 5 HR, 33 Runs, 29 RBI, 6 SB, 22 BB
This is all about projecting playing time. Betting on any Rays player is rough because they mix and match so much. If Duffy gets 500 plate appearances he is a decent add for a fantasy bench. He may also be eligible at shortstop.
Zack Cozart– Los Angeles Angels
Projection: .243, 15 HR, 63 Runs, 55 RBI, 3 SB, 45 BB
Cozart had a lost season last year, but there is no reason to expect him to suffer through more injuries this season. If he goes back to career norms he is a decent bench option. He could even get some games in at short if Andrelton Simmons gets hurt.